Born: November 21, 1940 Primary Instrument: Piano
Dr. John, or Mac Rebennack as known to friends and family, is universally celebrated as the living embodiment of the rich musical heritage exclusive to New Orleans. His very colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, including recordings by Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex and Frankie Ford. A notorious gun incident forced the artist to give up the guitar and concentrate on organ and piano.
Further trouble at home sent Dr. John west in the 1960s, where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin to name a few. He also launched his solo career, developing the charismatic persona of Dr. John The Night Tripper. Adorned with voodoo charms and regalia, a legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-gris, which established his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.
Several of his many career highlights include the masterful album “Sun, Moon and Herbs” in 1971 which included cameos from Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger and 1973’s “In The Right Place,” which contained the chart hits “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such A Night.” Dr. John garnered Grammy award wins in 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2000.
In 2004, his musical love letter to the city of New Orleans, “N’awlinz Dis Dat or D’udda,” was awarded the prestigious Académie Charles Cros 57ème Palmarès award in France. It was the first time since the 1970s that an artist from North America received the award.
He has also received six other nominations over the years. In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for “Sippiana Hericane,” his Hurricane Katrina benefit disc. After Hurricane Katrina and government bunglers bashed New Orleans in 2005, Dr. John immediately stepped up to the plate with both generous relief fund-raising concerts and recordings and angry public words of protest. One of the Crescent City's most favored sons, Dr. John does his considerable bit to keep the world's attention focused on what needs to be done to help New Orleans come back.
In 2008, he released the album “City That Care Forgot,” which deals with various aspects of post-Katrina New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. In 2009, “City That Care Forgot” won the Grammy for “Best Contemporary Blues Album.” It is considered to be his finest recording in twenty years. After a half century of creating music for others and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with a passion that has yet to wane. He continues to dazzle and delight audiences across the globe touring consistently.
In 2010 Dr. John added to his impressive resume by releasing “Tribal.”